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Sunday, 04 November 2012 12:22

Grammar School 11 plus review, plus statistics for Headteacher Assessment, out of county passes, and Medway out of county

UPDATED 6th November

This article covers a range of 11 plus matters based on new statistics, including: the Review of the Kent 11 plus; coaching; statistics for the Kent Headteacher Assessment; a closer analysis of those out of county children who have passed the Kent Test and likely destinations;  the pressures on North West Kent grammars; high scoring issues continued; Medway out of county issues; and today's article in the Sunday Telegraph. ......

 

The data below has been gathered from Kent County Council under Freedom of Information Requests, and has been updated as fresh information has been received.  Much of the data refers to ‘Selective areas’. These are the parts of Kent which have traditionally been served by grammar schools, and the pass rate is determined by selecting the top 25% scorers of all the children in these areas. There is a map showing the Selective areas on Page 6 of the Kent Secondary Schools Admission Booklet. The process is explained here, including the arrangements for Headteacher Assessments also referred to in the article.

The Sunday Telegraph has today published an article on the current Review of the Kent Test, which has been commissioned by Kent County Council in the light of growing pressure to reduce the effect of coaching, most clearly seen in West Kent, but endemic through the county which is seeing the balance of East and West Kent children found of grammar school ability tilt sharply towards the West, and driving the cut off scores for the super selective schools ever upwards. Amongst those concerned is Robert Masters, chair of the Review working party, who is also headteacher of The Judd School,  the school most affected by coaching, as its cut off score soars ever higher. See below. A local primary headteacher is quoted as saying: “Local authority schools are told quite clearly that they must not coach children in the tests. I don’t know how this is enforced in private schools but I strongly suspect that coaching and tutoring features heavily,” he said. Actually, many local private schools exist primarily to see their children into Kent grammar schools, and pass statistics show that some (not all) are very good at this. KCC policy states that no school (state or private) should prepare children for the 11 plus in curriculum time, and has in the past asked for information about schools that break this policy so that they can take appropriate action. I am not aware of any case where such action has been successfully carried out, in spite of current adverts for private schools in the media, that make clear their target is to achieve 11 plus success, and this is often achieved in curriculum time. One wonders how long it will be before one or more state primary academies breaks ranks and follows the same route. In the meantime, some state schools get round the ban through breakfast and after school clubs, which focus on the requirements of the Kent test, without explicitly saying so.

The issues are also to be covered in the ITV 'Tonight' programme on Thursday at 7 .30 p.m.

I have no problem with parents who seek to take advantage of such opportunities as they are legally seeking to do their best for their children; it is for Kent County Council to come up with a selection process that minimises this advantage. I don't envy Mr Masters and his working party in their task! I have spoken with representatives of super selective schools who report that children who have been overcoached may then underperform at grammar school, a pattern similar to that reported at some universities where those students who have been most heavily crammed for A Level,  often underperform at their degree level studies.

Another consequence of the coaching culture in the West of the county is the exaggerated number of children who are found selective in the area, producing the pressure on places that is now seen annually. Not surprisingly, another effect is that when the Headteachers Panels meet to decide upon Headteacher Assessments, Headteacher Panels in the East tend to pass more children than those in the West, although all are supposed to be working to a similar standard, Who is to say which area is right? However, the figures are quite revealing:

Headteacher Assessment for entry in September 2013

 

 

Assessed

Passed

% passed

East Kent

Boys

315

183

58

Girls

399

239

60

Mid Kent

Boys

270

143

53

Girls

353

189

54

West Kent

Boys

140

53

38

Girls

217

92

42

Total

Boys

725

379

52

Girls

969

520

54

Total

Children

1694

899

53

Outside Kent

Boys

55

22

40

Girls

55

22

40

There are two main observations to be made from this table:

(1) The sharp increase in pass rates through Headteacher Assessment as one moves from West to East. This may be because Headteacher Panels compensate in East Kent by passing a higher proportion of children as they have suffered through overqualification in West Ket.  Overall, the target is to produce the 4% additional qualified children required to give an overall pass rate of 25%, although this year that figure has overshot at 6.1%, providing a total of  27.1%  of the peer group in the selective areas, (for 2012 it was 25.7%).

(2) the large differences between  numbers of boys and girls entered by headteachers for the Headteacher Assessment, and also being passed by the Panels. I have been aware for some time that the process favours girls, but had not realised this was partially due to headteachers choosing considerably more girls in the first place, a figure even more significant with there being fewer girls than boys this year, at least in the selective areas. This appears to be a major flaw in the process, except that a higher proportion of boys passes the Kent Test automatically, and the combination of the two processes evens out the discrepancy. This is illustrated by the table below.

The full picture of  the Kent Test results is as follows:

Kent Grammar School Assessments for Year 6 children, for Admission in September 2013

 

 boys    

 girls     

 total      

 % boys    

 % girls    

 Total %    

Living In area

6946

6629

13575

51%

49%

100%

In area who sat test

3861

4080

7941

56%

62%

58%

Automatic Pass

1501

1358

2859

21.6%

20.5%

21.0%

Headteacher Assessment pass  

350

474

824

5.0%

7.2%

6.1%

Total In area Passes

1851

1832

3683

26.6%

27.6%

27.1%

Out area who sat test

471

535

1006

     

Automatic Pass

175

134

309

     

Headteacher Assessment Pass

29

46

75

     

Total Out Area Passes

204

160

364

     

Total Kent Passes*

2055

2012

4072

     

Out of County Tested

1273

1213

2486

     

Out of County Automatic Pass

638

603

1241

     

OOC Headteacher Assessment

55

55

110

     

OOC HTA Pass

22

22

44

     

Total OOC Passes*

665

633

1298

     

 

* Total figures slightly different from supporting data, reflecting adjustments, probably late tests. 

You will find the equivalent figures for the September 2011 tests here.

There has been much debate in the media about the likely impact of the 1298 out of county children who passed the Kent eleven plus but, as I have forecast previously, the impact is likely to be much less than other commentators have claimed. The real picture is as follows:

 

   

Sat Test

Passed

% passed of those who sat test

Medway

Boys

111

40

36

 

Girls

114

45

39

Bexley

Boys

326

162

50

 

Girls

333

167

50

Bromley

Boys

256

129

50

 

Girls

254

149

59

Other London

Boys

367

204

56

 

Girls

338

186

55

Sussex

Boys

83

56

67

 

Girls

57

30

53

Surrey

Boys

30

18

60

 

Girls

27

9

33

Other

Boys

97

56

58

 

Girls

100

47

47

Unfortunately, I don't have the equivalent results for last year, but 74 passes by boys at all levels from Sussex and Surrey, does not seem a high proportion to produce numbers similar to the 30 offered places at Judd and Skinners last March. Again for Tonbridge Grammar School, 39 passes at all levels seems quite conservative to produce something like last year's 13 offers. Do not forget that an indeterminate number of the out of county children who pass the test are not seriously looking for Kent grammar school places. An insignificant number of the total is likely to be offered places in the other three West Kent grammars, as their admission policies prioritise West Kent children.

As I have consistently forecast, the real pressure continues to building in North West Kent, with the overwhelming number of out of County passes coming from London Boroughs. Bexley and Bromley alone have 291 boys having passed, with other London Boroughs providing a further 204. These boys are targeting two schools: Wilmington Grammar on the Bexley boundary which offers ten per cent of its places to high scorers (414 or more cut off last year), the remainder on distance grounds; last year 46 of its 120 places going to out of county applicants. Dartford Grammar is the main attraction for high scorers, place of residence irrelevant, but  on three main railway routes through SE London all the way from London Bridge. Last year, these pushed the 40% of out of county places to a cut off score of 414, and I believe this year much higher, with a considerable proportion of those top scorers with 423, targeting the school. Last year, another 15 London boys headed for Judd. For girls, 497 London girls passed the Kent Test, mainly targeting Dartford Grammar School for Girls and Wilmington Grammar School for Girls. However, last year just 8 out of county girls were offered places at Dartford, probably all sisters, as no places were made available to high scorers. On the other hand, Wilmington offered 84 of its 120 places to out of county applicants, virtually all to Londoners, from Bexley to Southwark. 9 Bromley girls headed for Tonbridge Grammar School.

Not surprisingly, the large majority of other out of county Kent Test passes went to Medway residents, although just 7 took up Kent places in September. On the other hand 263 Kent children passed the Medway Test, 110 of these coming from Gravesham, another 40 or so from Walderslade. Just 18 Medway passes went to children from other counties, 16 of these from London, the likelihood being, as last year, that few of these will take up places, with four going to  Rochester Grammar which recruits high scorers.

Last modified on Tuesday, 04 March 2014 17:09

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